Friday, September 6, 2013

Happy Children's Poetry Blog Hop, Happy New Year, and Happy Poetry Friday!

Howdy, Campers! You have just a few more hours to enter our latest book giveaway (details below)!  AND today we celebrate not one, not two, but three things! Rosh Hashanah, the new Children's Poetry Blog Hop, and Poetry Friday (hosted today by Laura Shovan at Author Amok)!

My PF poem is below.

Thanks, Laura!
*   *   * 
1) Let's start with Rosh Hashanah.  Happy New Year (both the Jewish New Year and the New School Year) to all!  After I put the finishing touches on this post, I going to walk to the end of our pier and toss bits of bread to seagulls and fish as part of a Jewish New Year ritual called tashlich.

My picture book,
New Year at the Pier--a Rosh Hashanah Story
is beautifully illustrated by multi-award-winning illustrator,
Stéphane Jorisch.
We're both thrilled that our book won the
Sydney Taylor Gold Medal for Young Readers

(essentially the best Jewish picture book of the year)

2) And now on to the Children's Poetry Blog Hop.  Having heard of other blog hops, poet Janet Wong and other kidlitosphere poets have decided to start a Children's Poetry Blog Hop (CPBH) for...who else? Children's poets.

I nominate Mortimer as CPBH's meme:
Mortimer, from

To participate in the Poetry Blog Hop, simply:
1) Make up three questions you've always wanted to be asked in an interview about children's poetry and then answer them on your own blog;
2) Invite one, two or three other bloggers who write poetry (preferably children's poetry, but we're broad-minded) to answer any three questions that they make up on their own blogs (they can copy someone else's questions if they'd like)
3) In your post, let us know who your invitees are and when they're are going to be posting their own Poetry Blog Hop questions and answers...if you know the dates.
4) You do not have to use Mortimer, the CPBH meme. 

That's it!

I've invited author, poet, and web mistress extraordinaire Carmela Martino to the Children's Poetry Blog Hop (it sounds like a sock hop, doesn't it?) Carmela will be posting right here at on September 20th.

On the same day, the marvelously creative author, poet and poetry supporter Janet Wong promises a surprise twist on the blog hop theme.  Find her guest post at and on September 20th! are my three questions:

1) What children's poem do you wish you had written?  Include the poem or link to it.
2) What's your process?  How do you begin writing a poem?
3) Please share one of your poems with us.

And here are my answers:

1) What children's poem do you wish you had written?  Include the poem or link to it.
There are so many!  The first that pops into my mind is Deborah Chandra's "Cotton Candy" from her book, Rich Lizard and Other Poems (FSG)

I met Deborah years ago in Myra Cohn Livingston's master class in writing poetry for children.  Deborah's a stunning craftswoman and looks at the world in madly original ways.  And, as you're about to read, her metaphors are spectacular.  

by Deborah Chandra

like a sweet
it spins itself
A storm
caught on a paper cone.
I hold it up,
the air grows
thick and
with the smell of it.
A pink wind
made of sugar
and smoke,
earth crust,
delicious dust!
poem © Deborah Chandra. All rights reserved

2) What's your process?  How do you begin writing a poem?
Sometimes my process is to start with a word and I spin out from there.  Sometimes I find a poem I admire and imitate its rhythm, meter and form.  Sometimes it's a feeling.  I ask myself, what are you feeling today?  What is true?  What is authentic? And sometimes it's just, you have ten minutes.  Write the damn poem.  (I don't actually use the word damn because, as I'm sure you know, children's authors and poets don't swear.)

3) Please share one of your poems with us.

Here's a Rosh Hashanah/tashlich poem
first published in Jeanette Larson's book,
El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros: Building a Culture of Literacy in Your Community

by April Halprin Wayland

Shalom to slowly sinking sun
I sing in salty seagull tongue.

But who're these people on my pier?
I sail, I swoop and then fly near.

They're singing, marching up the pier
I think they did the same last year.

A father gives his girl some bread
she scans the waves then tosses crumbs.

I dive, I catch, I taste

I like this ritual at the pier.
I think I'll meet them every year.

I screech my thanks, and then I hear
"L’shanah Tovah!  Good New Year!"

note: Shalom can mean hello, good-bye and peace.

Copyright © 2013 April Halprin Wayland

 Walking up the pier for tashlich in my hometown.
photo by Rachel Gilman

Thanks for stopping by TeachingAuthors today--but wait! Before you head off,  be sure to enter for a chance to win a copy of Lisa Morlock's terrific rhyming picture book, Track that Scat! (Sleeping Bear Press). 

posted by April Halprin Wayland


Author Amok said...

Hi, April. What a chock-full post. I love the sensory details of "Cotton Candy." And your poem -- amazing what a fresh point of view can bring to a tradition.

Renee LaTulippe said...

What a happy, wonderful, celebratory post on many levels! Thanks for the smiles, the Chandra, the Wayland, the good, good words. :)

And YAY for the poet blog hop!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

From cotton candy to marching at the pier - lovely poems to enjoy today.

Irene Latham said...

Children's authors and poets don't swear. Ha! Love your process, April, and your results. Three cheers for Mortimer! xo

Janet Wong said...

Hope you had a wonderful Tashlich! And thank you for the shout-out on my Blog Hop post (going up on Sept 21)!

Carmela Martino said...

Hi April,
Thanks for the Poetry Blog Hop invite, though you will definitely be a tough act to follow!
And thanks so much for sharing these poems. I was especially struck by this line from yours:
>>I sing in salty seagull tongue.<<
Good New Year to you!

Bridget Magee said...

Happy New Year and Happy Blog Hopping, April! (I think Mortimer would be the perfect meme BTW)Thanks to your poem choice, "Cotton Candy". I now have a hankering for cotton candy...a guilty pleasure. =)

Tabatha said...

I'm going to send your poem to some friends who I know will appreciate it! Love the photo of Mortimer -- adorable :-)

Janet Wong said...

Correction: I meant Friday, Sept 20--my Blog Hop post will go up on 9/20 as you reported correctly, April!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Gang and Gangettes! Happy New Year to all ~

Join the Children's Poetry Blog Hop whenever and wherever you'd like.

It'll be like tossing confetti in the air and seeing where it lands.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Gang and Gangettes! Happy New Year to all ~

Join the Children's Poetry Blog Hop whenever and wherever you'd like.

It'll be like tossing confetti in the air and seeing where it lands.

GatheringBooks said...

Hi there April. So many great things to love about this post. Happy New Year to you! And congratulations on your new picture book. Very lovely! And the children's poetry blog hop is also ingenious! Cute Mortimer.

Robyn Hood Black said...

What an uplifting, tasty, wonderful and rich post, April! Thanks for sharing all this deliciousness. You've set the blog hop bar high, too.
"Shalom to slowly sinking sun..." mmmmmmmm.

BJ Lee said...

A very rich post, April! Thank you for the cotton candy, the pier, Mortimer (what a great name!) and the blog hop information!